There are a lot of tools in the kitchen that, unless you cook a lot, you probably don’t need. A digital meat thermometer might seem like one of those things, but it’s not. In fact, it’s probably most useful for novice cooks. There are a lot of tricks that the pros know for figuring out meat “doneness” — touching your thumb to each finger and feeling the firmness of the muscles at the base of your thumb and comparing it to the firmness of your steak, for example. However, it’s hard to feel totally confident unless you use these tricks all the time. That might lead you to just throwing your hands up and ordering takeout.
Another thing to consider is that there are a lot of factors that can affect the temperature of your meat. Cooking times can’t always be relied on because different sized cuts of meat will cook at different speeds, and oven temperatures aren’t always accurate either. This adds up to a lot of guesswork, and a meat thermometer removes the guesswork. Meat thermometers are very handy for bakers too, because the difference between under and overdone is typically a matter of a couple minutes. Even if you are a great cook who knows their way around every cut of meat, it doesn’t hurt to be extra sure.
These digital meat thermometers are perfect for baking or grilling. You can even use them to check the temperature without opening the oven.
1. ThermoPro TP-16 Digital Meat Thermometer
This thermometer is designed to be set on top of the oven or grill, or it can be magnetically attached to the side. The probe runs into the oven, allowing you to get a readout as you’re cooking without having to open the oven.
Pros: Easy to check the temperature without opening the oven or grill.
Cons: Some reviewers found that the magnets on the back did not offer a secure enough hold.
2. ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Digital Meat Thermometer
The trouble with cooking is that it can be a pretty short time between raw and burnt, so this thermometer is great for the distracted griller. The probes are stuck into the meat while cooking, and you get a remote temperature readout on the handheld device, which works up to 300 feet away. That means you can be swinging in the hammock and manning the grill at the same time.
Pros: Provides a remote reading, allowing you to not have to be directly in front of the grill the whole time.
Cons: No low-temperature warning.
3. ThermoPro TP03 Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer
This inexpensive thermometer is a compact, no-nonsense option. It has a button on the back to switch between Celcius and Fahrenheit and a simple LCD display on the front. Plus, the probe flips out (similar to a switchblade) making it easy to keep the probe out of the way until you need to use it. The back has a magnet so you can mount it to the fridge.
Pros: Thin probe tip prevents creating large holes in food or baked goods.
Cons: Some reviewers noted that it can take up to 10 or 15 seconds for a readout, so it’s not totally “instant.”